Former U.S. President Bill Clinton highlighted the need to avoid too much regulation of new technologies like blockchain as he took the stage at Ripple’s Swell conference in San Francisco.
Clinton was joined on-stage by Gene Sperling, one of Clinton’s advisors in the White House who also sits on Ripple’s board of directors. Clinton – who served as U.S. president between 1993 and 2000 – was the top-shelf speaker at Ripple’s event, which saw former Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke take the stage last year.
Indeed, the company has been pushing into establishment circles with particular enthusiasm in recent months. Just days ago, it was reported that Ripple and others had created the Securing America’s Internet of Value Coalition (SAIV), an advocacy group that will pay its DC lobbying firm partly in XRP.
During the question-and-answer session with Sperling, Clinton touched on a wide range of topics such as the cybersecurity challenges that his administration faced in the mid-90s. He also discussed topics seemingly outside the bounds of a financial technology conference, including gun laws, foreign policy, and his recently published novel.
Yet perhaps most relevant for the blockchain-centric audience at Swell was Clinton’s remark about the “disparity of access” to new technologies like blockchain as they develop and grow, pointing to the emergence of e-commerce solutions in the late 90s as a parallel.
“The more you develop new technologies like blockchain … AI technologies, robotic technologies … the more the disparity of access is going to be felt.”
He also acknowledged the sentiment that new technologies can be abused, hinting at the concerns that cryptocurrencies can be used by terrorists or other criminals to launder money. Referring to similar concerns over technologies like the Global Positioning System (GPS), Clinton noted that “there needs to be an intelligent effort to identify the downsides” and that “you can’t apply [an] old regulatory regime to a new technology.”
“You end up killing the goose that laid the golden egg,” he went on to add.
On the topic of blockchain itself, Clinton remarked that “this whole blockchain deal has the potential it does only because it is applicable across national borders, income groups.”
He went on to say:
“The permutations and possibilities are staggeringly great. But we could ruin it all by negative identity politics and economic and social policy.”
Image by David Floyd for KryptoHerald